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Liberia begins anti-graft war
afrol News, 26 August - The signing of a law creating the establishment of an anti-corruption commission by president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf clearly indicates Liberia's readiness to begin war on graft.
The move was in response to donor calls for "tougher measures" against corruption in the country.
President Johnson-Sirleaf said the development "is critical to the realisation of some of the major obejectives of the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy."
She became Africa's first female President after winning a hotlly contested election against football star in 2005.
Ms Johnson-Sirleaf, a former World Bank official, vowed zero tolerance on corruption in a country that had emerged out of a 14-year-old brutal civil war.
Since she took office, the Johnson-Sirleaf government had dismissed suspected low-ranking officials. It however is yet to pounce on high-level corruption, although some high-ranking officials were accused of corruption. The suspects include the former head of the transitional government, Gyude Bryant, who has been charged with embezzling $1.4 million.
Mr. Bryant, a business magnate, has repeatedly denied being corrupt, and has warned that any prosecution could prompt a constitutional crisis as well as reopening the wounds of Liberia's bloody war.
Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank cancelled Liberia's $4.7 billion debts. The West African country's government has been urged to create an anti-corruption commission to strengthen the fight against graft and embezzlement in the country.
Meanwhile, Liberian government has expressed grave concern over allegations of recently discoverd email exchanges purportedly containing the addresses of individuals discussion business deals inovloving government's pending negotiations with the Liberian Maritime Registry.
The office of the president was also linked to the purported email exchanges.
"The Executive Mansion is particularly and gravely concerned about references president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as well as to other high government officials in the purported email exchanges and will leave no stones unturned to ensure that the truth is unveiled and the perpetrators prosecuted in keeping with the laws of our country," the government said in a statement.
A string of emails pointing to a shady deal involving Mr. Willis Knuckles, former Minister of State, and other major actors associated with the renewal of the the maritime registry was produced by FrontPage Africa.
The allegations were denied by Mr. Knuckles who claimed that his Yahoo email account had been hacked into.
Ms Johnson-Sirleaf has directed the Ministry of Justice to expeditiously conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, with the view of establishing the authenticity of the purported email exchanges.
“The mandate of the Ministry of Justice is to first ensure the authenticity of these emails and the second step will be to address the results of those findings,” the government said.
"While the president exercises every degree of caution in rushing to judgment pending a determination of the outcome of the investigation, she is, nevertheless, deeply concerned over the contents of the purported email exchanges and the adverse effects they may have on the government’s fight against corruption."
By staff writer
© afrol News
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